Crime & Public Safety

Students across SC charged with making threats following Fla. school shooting

In this frame grab from video provided by WPLG-TV, students from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., evacuate the school following a shooting there on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018.
In this frame grab from video provided by WPLG-TV, students from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., evacuate the school following a shooting there on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018.

A threat of a mass shooting scrawled on the bathroom wall of Hilton Head Middle School was determined to be unsubstantiated late Thursday evening, according to a Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office release, but that is far from the only threat faced by schools in South Carolina since the mass shooting that killed 17 in Parkland, Florida last week.

Earlier Thursday, two students at Laurens District 55 High School were charged for their alleged posts on social media. A juvenile student was charged with making a bomb threat while a 17-year-old student’s post about the events in Parkland sparked enough fear in students, administrators and investigators that they were charged with disturbing a school.

“We are certainly in a heightened state of awareness but we are also working toward long-term systemic solutions to address this issue,” said Laurens County School District 55 superintendent Stephen Peters.

His sentiments, or similar ones, have been echoed by many state school district representatives as the number of threats in the state rise.

Numerous incidents, arrests

Thursday also saw a Snapchat threat by an 11-year-old girl against Camden High School in Kershaw County, the Chronicle-Independent reports. The 6th grade student was charged with disturbing a school.

According to WIS, an 8th grade student of Saluda Middle School in the midlands was charged with threatening his school after a Thursday evening social media post.

On Wednesday, a student in Florence County was arrested and charged for posting online threats against Lake City High School and Lake City Alternative School, The State reported. The student, Days’Yannie Aremony Gamble, had claimed that both schools would be the targets of mass shootings.

According to the Florence County Sheriff’s Office, a juvenile student at Lake City High School was arrested for bringing a firearm to campus, though it was left in their car, according to The State.

The week began with a Monday morning threat against Dillon High School in northern South Carolina. In that case, the school was briefly locked down and 92 percent of students were signed out by their parents, according to WMBF.

Last week, the day after the Florida shooting, in Spartanburg, high school freshman was arrested after allegedly posting a Snapchat of himself holding a gun with the caption “Round 2 of Florida tomorrow,” The State reported. In a search of the suspect’s home, a mask and an airsoft rifle were found.

Last Friday, classes at Abbeville High School in the upstate region were delayed by a bomb threat made by a 16-year-old female student, the Index-Journal reports. There were no explosives found. The girl was arrested on charges of disturbing a school and making a bomb threat.

A 2015 study conducted by researchers from Arizona State and Northeastern Illinois Univiersities found that mass shooting events correlate to an increase in the likelihood of subsequent mass shootings. Mass shootings can trace their inspirations back to similar incidents that occured within the last 13 days about 30 percent of the time according to the study.

For school shootings, that number drops a bit, to 22 percent.

Michael Olinger: 843-706-8107, @mikejolinger

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